AFPL App of the Week: Snapchat

Hello patrons! It’s been a few weeks since we’ve posted an App of the Week review so we’re going to be talking about a very popular app which has garnered a lot of attention over the last few years: Snapchat.

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Snapchat is primarily used by teens and young adults as an alternative to other social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Initially, Snapchat was developed not as a social media service, but as an alternative messaging service. Each message is a picture which expires after a set number of seconds (between 1-10). The idea is that people could send little snapshots of what they were doing to their friends.

Since the explosion of users though, in my opinion, Snapchat has been revolutionizing the way that people talk and share experiences with one another. Since the first version, Snapchat has added features to edit pictures such as a drawing tool, text, and a handful of other filters. In addition to photo editing tools, they introduced a concept called Snapchat Stories. These stories are similar to the Snapchat messages except these are available to all of your Snapchat contacts for 24 hours. Each story is made up of photos which expire just like the messages do. Currently, Snapchat is working on a way to Snapchat actual money to your Snapchat contacts. I do not recommend using this part of the app until it is more widely accepted. Don’t worry though, the option to send money to a contact is initially disabled and will not be activated until you authorize it.

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With that said though, its for these reasons why I really believe that Snapchat has humongous potential. First, the app is crazy easy to use with there only being about 4 different pages to the whole app. All of the controls are nonintrusive and you can tell they were placed with common sense. The Snapchat Story aspect is especially nice because you’re not filtering through all of your friends to find the stories you want to see. You can simply hold down on the story you want to look at and it begins immediately. One feature I recently discovered is you can actually see how many people have viewed your story and who they were. This is a really cool feature because on no other social media network can you be accountable for what you look at. For example, if you read a Tweet or view someones Facebook post, theres no way of logging who looked at your post. Whereas with Snapchat, you get a list of everyone who has viewed your story.

Snapchat has been valued in the billions of dollars (Facebook tried to buy it for over $3 Billion), so everyone in the tech world understands how much potential this app actually has. Moving forward, I would not be surprised if Snapchat is one of the major players in bringing down the empire which is Facebook.

Though Snapchat may be pushing the boundaries of mobile communication, it’s history is a bit of a colorful one. Due to the nature of Snapchat messages disappearing after a set number of seconds, Snapchat gained it’s early support from people who would send inappropriate pictures to one another. This has not deterred major companies from investing hundreds of thousands of dollars on hiring people to manage their brand’s Snapchat accounts. 

Overall, I would recommend this app to anyone who has friends who are using it. It is a fun way to communicate with friends and share stories. Snapchat messages take hardly any time to compose as well which makes it even less intrusive than Facebook and Instagram. If you have children that use Snapchat, I encourage you to talk to them about it and maybe try it with them first. After all, they’re the ones who are using it already.

Check out the Snapchat website for more information.

About Avalon Free Public Library

Avalon is a bustling little shore town in southern NJ. Our small population of 1800 expands to about 30,000 at the height of summer. We like to think that we serve them all and then some! Our goal is to make our library available to our patrons wherever they may roam.

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